The Big East will honor the memory of late Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball head coach John Thompson Jr. each season with the creation of the John Thompson Jr. Award to recognize the individual, team or athletic department who made significant efforts to fight prejudice, discrimination and advance positive social change.
"Few individuals are more closely associated with our conference than Coach Thompson," Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said during the conference's media day on Wednesday. "He quite literally put the Big East on the map and so we're very, very grateful to the Thompson family for allowing us to honor his memory in this way.
"We hope that the award will provide additional inspiration and motivation and carry forward the principles that coach Thompson fought for. And in that way allow us, as an organization, to be part of the change in bringing about a more equitable society."
The selection committee will include a representative from each school and a member of the Thompson family.
Thompson passed away in late August at the age of 78. The social pioneer was head coach of the Hoyas' men's basketball program for 27 years and became the first Black head coach to win an NCAA men's basketball championship in 1984. Thompson turned the program into a perennial powerhouse and led Georgetown to three Final Fours in the span of four seasons. With it, he vaulted the school into the national conversation.
He was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.